Fundraising Campaign for RIT Tallies $309 Million
July 12, 2006
by Bob Finnerty
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With $309 million in gifts and commitments, Rochester Institute of Technology President Albert J. Simone announces the successful conclusion to “Powered by the Future: The Campaign for RIT,” the university’s eight-year comprehensive fundraising campaign.
“This is an awe inspiring victory for RIT and the Rochester area community,” states Simone. “Lifting our campaign past its $300 million goal took a Herculean effort on the part of dedicated members of the campus community, unprecedented generosity from a wide range of university partners, and an unwavering commitment as RIT evolves into what we have identified as a ‘Category of One’ university—a standard of comparison to which others aspire.”
Gifts came from more than 33,000 donors throughout Rochester and around the world.
“These donors really stepped up to make the campaign successful – right down to the last minute,” said Lisa Cauda, vice president of development and alumni relations. “More than $55 million in gifts were confirmed in the final week of the effort – a total exceeding the best full year of the campaign before now.”
The Campaign for RIT was introduced in 1998 to strengthen the university’s ability to better prepare graduates entering a global economy that demands knowledge and innovation. Primary focus areas for the campaign included investing in students, reinvesting in the campus, recruiting and retaining top faculty, supporting applied research and learning, and creating a fund for the future.
“The successful conclusion of this campaign shows that RIT is evolving a giving base that continues to expand. For example, we had more than 100,000 gifts and we had 52 gifts that exceeded $1 million. We have developed stronger bonds with important constituencies who have a real, long-term stake in RIT: alumni, students, parents, corporations, trustees and friends,” said William A. Buckingham, chair of the campaign. “As an alumnus of RIT (’64), I believe the value of an RIT degree is rising as the university continues to prosper.”
Initiatives resulting from RIT’s campaign are already having a significant impact on the university’s growth and success. The campaign created 210 new scholarships and 7 new endowed professorships. The campaign is also responsible for altering the university’s landscape—creating new programs and the facilities in which to house them. Among the more notable additions to campus physical facilities is the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences. RIT’s eighth college, made possible in 2001 with a $14 million gift from B. Thomas Golisano, Paychex Inc. founder and RIT trustee, has quickly developed into the largest comprehensive college of computing in the nation. Golisano served as honorary chairman for the campaign. Along with Golisano College, two other colleges were named after generous gifts: $20 million for The Kate Gleason College of Engineering (which included separate gifts for two building additions) and $13 million to support scholarships, facilities, faculty and programs in the E. Philip Saunders College of Business.
Other major initiatives resulting from the campaign include:
- The Gordon Field House and Activities Center—a 160,000 square foot and $25 million facility named in recognition for a multi-million dollar contribution from Lucius “Bob” and Marie Gordon.
- Ernest J. DelMonte and the DelMonte Corporation gifted a hotel, valued at $14 million, and now re-named the RIT Inn and Conference Center.
- Continued multi-million dollar support from Eastman Kodak Co., Xerox Corp. and Bausch and Lomb Inc.
The generosity driving the campaign’s success was most apparent on the RIT campus. More than 63 percent of the university’s faculty and staff participated in the campaign through contributions, raising $5.1 million. On average, RIT’s peer institutions report campus participation rates of no more than 50 percent during similar campaigns.
“I am very pleased that faculty, staff and students came together to support the university,” says Simone. “I would also like to thank the RIT Board of Trustees. They, their companies and foundations, supported the campaign with $95 million in gifts, and countless hours in this endeavor. I’ve spoken on many occasions about the growing culture of giving on this campus, and the overall participation in the campaign is a testament to that.”